Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Proud Mary: I want a Maserati

I still don’t know what Mary is proud of, and I can’t help thinking the producers went looking for a song they could score a gunfight to, and then called the character after it. No-one ever calls Mary proud, and she doesn’t do anything very proud looking either. It’s a puzzle the movie can’t be bothered to answer.

It does answer a couple of other obvious questions. I spent the whole movie wondering why a hit woman would drive such a conspicuous car, and whether the movie had the budget to destroy it. The climax answers that question; Mary’s driving a Maserati because it’s indestructible, and the movie had the budget to shoot it full of bullet holes and rip a door off it. Good buying choice, overall, since she could still make a getaway in it after that. Meanwhile I had to get my car towed to a garage because one lousy spring broke. 

The other question is “Why does Mary’s gang not let her retire if she feels like it?” was partially answered in the same climactic shootout. “Because no-one else in the whole gang could hit a man-sized target even if they were superglued to it.” A whole posse of gangsters working from prepared positions with assault rifles didn’t manage to put a graze on her while Mary was shooting offhand while running and landing perfect headshots. Clearly, she’s an indispensable employee, or she would be if there was anything left at the end to employ her.

Three members of the cast survive, and I’m not prepared to bet that one of them didn’t die off screen from shock at the rest of the gang being wiped out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a wholehearted commitment to body count. Ebola doesn’t work that thoroughly. John Wick doesn’t kill that much of a cast.

Weird stuff. Main character is a woman, but there’s only one other female cast member and she barely gets three lines. No Bechdel for you, Proud Mary. The worst gangsters are all Russians, but the slightly better gangsters are a little more diverse, like a 1970s black gang had a programme for token whites. It’s a crime movie set in Boston, but it has no Ben Affleck. Or Slaine. Or Boston accents, actually. The movie’s echoing all those blaxploitation movies of the 1970s (especially in the opening credits) but with these weird nods to modernity; Russians have replaced what would have undoubtedly been Italians back in the day, and the slightly more heroic mob are not ALL one colour. And somehow Danny Glover didn’t get the chance to tell us that he was too old for this shit, even though he visibly is. Oh, and this is a crime movie where we never see a policeman or even hear a police siren. On the other hand, it’s a crime movie where every criminal but one has been killed by another criminal by the end credits, so maybe the police aren’t needed.

It’s not a terrible movie, because the cast is good enough to rise above the material and the glaring budget limitations, but it’s not the movie the cast deserve. It’s never a good sign when drama’s supposed to be going down and I’m looking at the stacks of pallets in the background wondering how they match up to a pack of model pallets I bought and have to stick together.

Lastly, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to ask this, who is it that makes custom gun cabinets for the mass murderers of Hollywood? Every second gun for hire has got a special cupboard which they open up and it’s got peg boards covered in machine guns and a series of drawers with special foam lined cutouts for different pistols. Who makes this stuff, and why don’t the cops come around to their workshops and ask for the invoices? And who needs special foam padding for handguns? They’re not exactly dainty pieces of porcelain which will shatter if you leave them loose in a drawer. They’re designed to withstand explosions. And if you’re murdering people with them, I don’t imagine you’re too worried about them staying shiny and clean; no meticulous hitwoman’s going to keep a gun that has a body on it. You drop that like it’s on fire.

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